A DAMAGED First World War memorial honouring the deaths of 72 soldiers has been reconstructed and will be rededicated next month to mark the centenary of the start of the conflict.

A special service is being held at Blackburn Cathedral on Sunday August 3 when the memorial will be rededicated by the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson.

The cathedral’s Canon Sacrist, Andrew Hindley, who has been in charge of the restoration, said it was placed in the-then Blackburn Parish Church – now the Cathedral – in November 1920.

It contained the names of 72 soldiers from the parish who had fallen.

Canon Hindley said: “Sadly it was dismantled in 1965 when the cathedral was undergoing massive internal changes.

“Much of the frame and carvings was lost at that time. Only the four bronze panels bearing the names of the fallen and five wood carvings of angels survived.

“But we did discover that photographs and news-paper cuttings from the Lancashire Telegraph (then the Northern Daily Telegraph) still existed in their files and, although no drawings or original plans survived in the archives, we then explored the possibility of remaking the memorial.”

Last year the Cathedral Chapter decided that the reconstruction of the memorial should be the centrepiece of rededication on the 100th anniversary.

A new inscription on the base will record the centenary service and remember all the fallen of Lancashire - not just those from Blackburn. The Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, the High Sheriff and mayors and civic dignitaries are being invited to attend the service.

The remaking of the memorial was put in the hands of Blackburn joiners Cooper Bespoke Joinery.

Canon Hindley said: “Now what we really want is to find as many relatives of the men named on the memorial as possible in the hope that they can come and join us for this very special occasion.

“What happened to the memorial in 1965 was a tragedy but we can now put that right by rededicating the restored work.”

The original memorial was designed and made by the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts whose most famous works on public display include the main gates of Buckingham Palace and Liverpool’s Liver Bird carvings.